EDITOR’S NOTE: Some time ago I had the opportunity to interview the incredibly talented Michael Kiske, after his performance with Avantasia in Amsterdam. During that interview, Michael mentioned that he was disappointed about what he saw as the “worship of evil” in the metal scene, something about which we continued talking in some of the extensive correspondence that we have exchanged since (and where our opinions have often clashed).
Seeing the interest that Michael‘s words generated among metal fans, he graciously accepted my invitation to elaborate on these points on an opinion piece for Metal Blast.

 

 The problem about this idea that ‘heavy-metal glorifies evil’ is that, unfortunately, it is often true. It’s not just a “prejudice” from people outside of the metal world; it’s a fact that many within the scene either don’t want to see or admit because they are hypocrites, or because they really can’t see it anymore, having become completely desensitized and morally numb over the years by the brutality of the scene.

 Instead of always denying the facts, the metal scene should finally start to do something about this problem and change its often very sick spirit. Instead of being a moral disease, it should become a moral healer! Of course being positive or “morally good” in art doesn’t mean that you have to paint the world in pink; after all, aggression can be quite positive when it’s justified by a good reason. To express some justified anger about something can be very refreshing, healing and positive; the problem happens when aggressions, frustrations or being negative become an “ideal”.

Thankfully, there are many idealistic bands within the metal scene that hold up good ideals. Helloween (at least during my years) was always very idealistic and rather funny, even if the stupid name would make you think otherwise (they named the band when they were teenagers and as soon as they became successful they were just stuck with it); they were never satanic (Michael Weikath is a Catholic, and I am a non-denominational Christian who believes in Good, God, Christ and the Spirit, and the general moral meaning of our existence). The same happens with Avantasia, which is also a very positive and idealistic band with uplifting lyrics; and with Unisonic, which although I consider a rock band, even when I (we) do metal, I (we) try to do this type of music differently, just as I believe that I always have done. While it is true that there are more bands like these, there certainly is a very destructive tendency and a sick satanic evil ghost within the heavy metal scene poisoning this music and the souls of many.

As a teenager I started to get excited about rock, hard rock and metal-music, but the older I got, the more problems I developed with the side of that scene that glorifies evil. Although for a number of years I even left the scene completely and got very angry at it, I discovered that to just condemn it and run away was not a solution. It’s always easy to do that, and many hypocrites love to point their fingers at the so-called evil, just so they can see themselves as ”the good ones” and feel better. In the end that’s just selfishness and hypocrisy. The right Christian way is not to condemn and run away, but to love our brothers and sisters, change the hearts and save the souls! We ALL have evil in us and we are ALL sinners; I am no saint either, I am no better than most people, but I have strong human ideals. I think that nowadays it is much better to try to stand for a different spirit as a rock or metal singer, and to start some constructive discussions within the scene, than to condemn it; anyone with a good heart and will can, and should, make a difference in life by standing for good ideals. If we don’t, we are nothing!

Even today I have big problems with what heavy metal so often stands for; it hurts when I see the typical satanic crap, since I can’t stand heart-stupidity and soul-decadence at all! When I look through certain metal-magazines, for example, I often feel that I could just throw up because of all the sickness there. Some people in that scene are very morally disturbed, and it seems like those magazines especially want to promote those evil-glorifying bands, which furthers the impression that metal is JUST that.

I still like hard rock music and also the metal-scene in festivals, etc.; most metal fans are also completely harmless, goodhearted and sweet, and I like them a lot! The problem is that although there is nothing morally evil about guitar-weighted rock music, Satanism and Fascism are definitely mind poisoning and evil diseases. While Fascism raises itself above other nations, claiming to be better and even “more human” than others, Satanism does it on an individual level.

Satanists won’t bow down in front of a God or anything higher than them, since they only respect themselves and accept nothing above them. The truth, however, is that if you can’t bow down in front of what’s greater or wiser than you, then you are very small, weak and unable to grow. If something truly beautiful and godly doesn’t make you fall on your knees in love and admiration, you simply have no sense for it. It takes greatness to respect or worship what is bigger and better than us, and it is always a clear sign of a small soul and a weak and honourless mind when a person is unable to respect the qualities of others and of higher beings. Although we should never bow down in front of dictators and tyrants that don’t love us and just oppress us, a good and strong person is always able to respect and love true greatness. Falling on our knees for what is greater than us doesn’t make us smaller or weaker, in fact it makes us grow and become stronger.

Satanism is spreading a lot of dangerous moral lies that really screw up young minds, and only an honest individual striving for a deeper moral understanding of life can develop a remedy. The more our heart is asleep, the more superficial we become concerning moral questions. Even friends I love often don’t understand these matters deep enough or take them as serious as they really are; and moral superficiality is extremely common within the heavy metal scene, which is precisely the work and the goal of the Antichrist.

The metal-scene needs to understand that there is absolutely nothing cool, sexy, free or individual about evil. If your sister or your brother gets murdered by an evil soul, what is cool about that? If you experience evil yourself, you will learn its moral reality. Some people really need to go through hell before they really understand that evil is NOT a quality, but a horrible weakness; it’s the absence of light and heart, it’s the death of the soul!

I am absolutely convinced that we, as human beings, are in a constant fight between darkness and light, hate and love, death and life, spirituality and materialism, good and evil. We all have both sides as potential realities in us; this is how God created us so that we all get to know good and evil. The question is what we are living for and what side rules us. What path do we chose? Who are we listening to? We are supposed to grow in good by the experience of evil, and not fall for it; through evil we should learn the value of good, and not become wicked. We learn from hatred the value of love, from betrayal the value of friendship and trust, from darkness the beauty of light, from materialism the importance of honest spirituality. We are responsible, and we will also be held responsible after death, for everything we do, say, think or feel in life, regardless of our personal beliefs or religion. Our souls will be saved by the way we live our lives, and not by institutions.

You don’t need traditional religions or Churches to find God; you don’t need to go to Church to be spiritual, nor do you need to be against science to be spiritual (and you don’t need to be a materialist to be a scientist either!); you don’t even necessarily need a God to believe in the value of good and love and compassion (even though our Father in heaven is more real than we all are).

If the metal-scene wants to react to the (very justified) claim of promoting evil, then it needs to change! It needs more positive bands with soul and moral intelligence, with decent energy and wisdom of the heart. The metal scene has way too many moral-losers that can only spread their moral sickness, inner darkness, soul-death and negativity. Metal magazines should kick themselves in their moral asses for good, and understand their responsibility to our society. It is NOT cool to promote evil, brutality and inhumanity; the only solution I see here is a moral change within the scene itself, rather than always trying to deny reality.

May the force be with you! ;-)[signoff predefined=”Op-Ed”][/signoff]

  • Kristof

    I envy you,Michael your faith. I’m steel looking for God.

    PS. And don’t stop singing. Your voice is suffused in love, peace, and understanding.

    • IzirAtig

      Steel looking? Are you some kind of superman?

  • Lebleu

    It’s funny that the voting below the opinion piece has a choice promoting violence…

    • If this is your first time reading Metal Blast in general, then there is a possibility that you may miss our penchant for rather tongue-in-cheek or sarcastic humor. That choice option falls right under that category. We in no way condone any actual violence to someone just because they hold an opinion that is contrary to ours or anyone else.

  • AleRock

    I agree with you Lebleu. But to me it`s sad to see that the metal people insists in remaining carefree with the social impact of the ideas and the opinions. How do explain this behavior after a serious explanation ?

    • AleRock, you speak as if the subject matter of certain heavy metal can take over a person without them being able to react or reject it. The onus of responsibility does not lie on an artist/musician, but on the listener if they wish to take the message being broadcasted to them seriously or not.

      Frankly, I think it’s scarier for some sort of “morality policing” go on to shout down contrary ideas or philosophies, which would cause a horrible homogenization of subject matter and possible sound barriers that would be deemed as “acceptable”. All art and music is subjective; nothing more, nothing less.

  • sidneyallenjohnson

    Excellent piece. Very happy he wrote it. There is more to what he has said here than he ventured to say. I only fear we are now at the end game. The age of rock music’s usefulness has come and gone and what remains is far more wretched and undisguised than than what was necessary to deceive and divide the youth of yesterday. The divisions are set…now all that remains is to turn us loose on one another.

  • Nathan Bell

    I remember seeing Extol in concert in 2005. We briefly talked about the history of black metal and they even said it had a very bad beginning. Murders, hatred and church burning are not the best start. The thing about art is, it doesn’t matter how it originated. It matters how it is used. You can use a gun to murder or to save a life or even kill a deer than make venison. Its not the image, the style, the genre or the emotion that is evil- its how its used. Extol uses the same style (actually it is a hybrid between death metal and progressive rock) to glorify God.

  • MetalGerman

    Since it’s beginning with Black Sabbath Metal was about provocation, esp. religious provocation. Many rooted in bad experiences with bad people calling themselves christians. Nowadays, 40 years later, some Bands use so much blood, masks, horror and evil stuff that it’s not provocation, it’s just ridiculous and silly. The Metal movement and metal scene today would do good in being a little more grown-up and leave that behind and just make good honest and real music. Using their influence for good would be good as well. But it starts with becoming real.

  • Michael Smalley

    Satanists and debil worshippers are just as ridiculous to me as other superstitous believers in fairy tales – they’re just following the bad guy. In the end they’re still slaves to the Christian mythos.

    • J_MetalBlast

      Hi Michael, thanks for visiting us!
      I agree with you; and yet, it seems like metal fans tend to give a free pass to Satanists because it’s… I don’t know, “badass”? Silly stuff!

      • Michael Smalley

        Very silly and very pretentious. I love black metal music but the performers and fans tend to be the most elitist cocks I’ve ever met. Each one is trying to be “more evil than thou” and the murders and church burnings? Some of the most shameful and ludicrous crap to ever happen in musical history.

    • Oran Black

      What are debil worshippers? Do they sail debil ships? Or did you mean devil worshipers?

  • alejandro

    I don’t believe in GOD.. otherwise the DEVIL not exists…. The Heavy Metal Music is made to grow like person.. a one persona more perfeft.. equilibrium!

  • Collin Monroe

    Like any genre, it depends on the band.

    Every band’s different, that’s like saying ”every black person’s a thief” because one black person robbed someone. Dude stop generalizing just because a FEW bands are satanic and evil (like deathcore, an example would be Whitechapel, that’s some pretty brutal, angry, violent music generally). Although there’s a ton of really positive metal bands out there like War of Ages, Born of Osiris, Those Who Fear, August Burns Red, etc.

    Every band will have different messages and a different vibe or feel to it, you can’t generalize.

  • Plutarch X

    A case can be made that the beloved society sanctioned insanity called “Faith” is the mother of all evils…